This time of the year has always been an important one to take smart efforts to give your immune system a boost. When the winter months truly get underway, we’re dealing with dry air, colds and flus circulating, and everything else we’re exposed to on a regular basis. Though taking great care of ourselves won’t necessarily stop us from getting sick if we’re exposed to something, it can help us to keep symptoms to a minimum, shorten the duration of our illnesses, and help us to get back to normal faster.
What Does Harvard Medical Say About How to Give Your Immune System a Boost?
With the heightened importance of staying healthy right now, Harvard Medical School recently published a list of four recommendations for how you can give your immune system a boost. While recommending that we all take a closer look at any recommendations we follow – always checking sources instead of blindly believing claims – it provided its own list of four things we can all do to stave off illness and strengthen our defenses.
What Can You Do to Give Your Immune System a Boost?
According to Harvard Medical School’s list, which was based on recommendations by microbiology professor Michael Starnbach, some of the top things you can do to give your immune system a boost this winter include the following.
1 – Practice Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Solid nutrition, regular exercise, restful sleep, stress management and good hygiene habits are all important for giving your immune system a boost. There isn’t a single superfood or workout that will miraculously keep you from ever getting sick. However, when you’re giving your body what it needs to be healthy, it will be more resistant to disease, said the report. Therefore, if you are living a healthy lifestyle and are infected with something, you might find that your symptoms or duration is less than that of someone who isn’t as well as you are. In the case of some infections, they could be so mild that you don’t even realize they happened.
2 – Make Informed Choices When Choosing Supplements
If you decide that an advanced immune supplement is the right choice for you, do your homework before making your purchase. While some products out there have very little to support their claims, others have some scientific backing in peer-reviewed journals and the companies behind the products will share that research openly to allow you to decide for yourself if those claims hold water. Just remember that – like healthy lifestyle choices – these won’t stop you from ever getting sick. They’re meant to prepare your body to defend itself well in case exposure and infection does happen.
3 – Wear a Mask
Since mask wearing is a thing right now anyway, you can give your immune system a boost by just wearing one that meets recommended standards for fit and protection. Of course, you don’t have to wear it all the time. However, by complying with local regulations and choosing to wear one at times when it will be difficult to physical distance from others, you’ll give your body an additional prevention layer.
Beyond the natural protections within your body and the lifestyle changes you’ve made, simply adding another barrier can help keep certain infections from reaching you in the first place. Moreover, in case you happen to be sick – whether or not you even know it, as your symptoms may be mild – it can help you to prevent spreading what you have to someone whose body isn’t as able to protect them as yours is, such as the immunocompromised and unvaccinated.
4 – Get Vaccinated
When it comes to giving your immune system a boost, one of the fastest, easiest and most effective is to get vaccinated. This is true of any disease for which there is one available and to which you might be exposed. For instance, if you were to travel to a country where yellow fever or typhoid is a risk, vaccination can help you to know you will be able to enjoy your trip without coming down with an entirely preventable illness.
The same can be said about a long list of illnesses to which you could be exposed at home. Keep a record of all your vaccinations so you can update them when appropriate. Tetanus, for instance, should be updated every ten years. A flu shot is typically recommended annually. For the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, pay attention to the recommendations from the CDC or your country’s national health experts.
Not only will these give your immune system a boost against the individual diseases, protecting you against symptoms or at the very least severe symptoms that would lead you to be hospitalized, but they also help you to prevent being the source of a new and more serious variant mutation.
Final Thoughts About Giving Your Immune System a Boost
Avoiding exposure at all is, of course, one of the best ways for you to stop yourself from getting sick. However, as you live your daily life, exposures happen. So, doing what you can to give your immune system a boost by following these recommendations by Harvard Medical can help your body to be ready to defend itself.